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July 31, 2020

What Is API Architecture?

API Lifecycle Management

You need to provide the right kind of API architecture for your API and app developers, architects, and operations and security teams. This helps you take advantage of everything APIs can do for your business.

What Is API Architecture?

API architecture refers to the process of developing a software interface that exposes backend data and application functionality for use in new applications. With an API-first architecture, you can create ecosystems of applications that are modular and reusable — which is ideal for microservices. 

Effective API management means a lot more than providing a good API portal or a high-performance API gateway. API management fills a number of key roles in the modern digital enterprise. In the API diagram below, we share some examples.

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4 Layers of API Architecture

Let’s go into these layers of API architecture in more detail.

Information Management Layer

Modern digital organizations run on giant data repositories. You need a steady diet of advanced database systems to store and manage all of it. All of your applications need a reliable, high-performance data layer. And you find yourself needing increasingly advanced (or simplified) data storage systems.

Application Layer

This speaks for itself. It’s where the applications that run your organization live. You might want to replace these applications with more modern alternatives built in microservices, for example. But this is likely not realistic in many cases.

Integration Layer

This is the realm of the increasingly rare enterprise service bus (ESB) — and even more rare enterprise application integration (EAI) platform. Integration architects and developers live here. They work hard to expose services from legacy applications and data. 

Interaction Layer

The interaction layer is where the applications and services used by your customers, partners, and employees interact with your business applications and data.

Applications are no longer monolithic entities that live in the bowels of the enterprise. Sure, these behemoths still exist. But today's applications expose core functions and data via services. An API gateway can consume and aggregate these services with other services and capabilities. This enables you to create APIs that modern applications can use. 

Enterprise API Management, Defined

Architecture is an important part of enterprise API management. What else do you need to know to succeed? Find out!

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Services That Support API Platform Architecture

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Management Services

All the technology that supports the digital business needs to be managed and monitored. The management services layer provides configuration management and auditing, as well as operational monitoring across the organization. 

This is where your centralized API management platform lives — such as Akana. Akana controls the gateway instances residing in the interaction layer.

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Security Services

Becoming a digital business forces you to balance the need to provide APIs that expose your data and applications with the need to protect your customers and your systems.

Security services provide an underlying set of capabilities:

  • User and application authentication and authorization.
  • Data privacy.
  • Auditing.
  • And more.

APIs are increasingly the key interaction point between:

  • Applications and data.
  • Your customers, partners, and employees.

So, your API management solution needs to both provide and consume a range of security services.

Akana integrates with your identity management systems to provide:

  • API and web services security, federation, and single-sign-on capabilities.
  • Key management and cryptographic services for data privacy.
  • Monitoring and auditing for API traffic and administrative activities.

Developer Services

APIs are all about the consumer. One key to providing a good consumer experience is an intuitive API marketplace. Akana, for example, allows API developers to design, build, and document well-constructed APIs. And Akana helps app developers find and consume APIs with minimal friction.

With the right marketplace, you can create an API developer community. This is a social developer experience for both API and app developers.

Analytics Services

Embarking on a digital transformation strategy is important. But you need to know what progress you’re making and what you need to work on. API analytics, like those available from Akana, provide business dashboards built from information collected by your API platform and from other data feeds.

API management will likely not be your primary business intelligence (BI) system. But it will definitely play a major role in providing information. And, in many cases, it may provide all the data and reporting you need.

Build Your API Architecture With Akana

Some of your applications will be on-premises, others will be distributed across various cloud API architecture platforms. All of these distributed components need to be securely and reliably connected. And all of this happens with APIs.

That's why you should build your API architecture with Akana. Akana helps you create, secure, publish, and deploy APIs on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments.

With Akana, you can:

  • Accelerate time-to-market by leveraging automation to create APIs faster. 
  • Strengthen security with automated security policies and settings.
  • Gain a partner in your strategy, from architecture to deployment — and beyond.

See for yourself how Akana can help you. Watch the on-demand demo today. 

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